Tuesday

28th Feb 2017

Dutch pro-Europe parties win heated election

  • Caretaker prime minister Mark Rutte’s Liberals party win the most seats in Dutch elections. (Photo: Minister-president Rutte)

Pro-European parties swept to victory in Dutch elections on Wednesday (13 September) despite concerns that eurosceptics would increase their influence on future decision-making powers.

Some 96 percent of the votes had been counted with official results expected later on Thursday morning.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

But exit polls give caretaker prime minister Mark Rutte's Liberals 41 seats and the centre-left Labour Party 39 in the 150-member lower house with hardliners on both sides of the political divide losing considerable ground.

Pundits had initially predicted the two would only grab 70 seats.

"We won our greatest victory in history and for the second time became the largest party in the Netherlands," said Rutte.

The far-left Socialists, who had campaigned against austerity and eurozone bailouts, are likely to end up with just 15 seats.

Meanwhile, firebrand Geert Wilders of the anti-immigration Freedom Party had campaigned for the Netherlands to leave the euro and the European Union. The verdict has hit Wilders' party the hardest - his party is set to lose about a third of his seats, dropping from 24 to 13.

The far-left's anti-austerity message had ignited debate on Europe's future and the Netherlands' role in the Union in the run-up to the vote.

The Liberals and the Labour parties backed the eurozone rescue packages, criticised by hardliners.

The snap election came after Rutte's minority coalition collapsed in April over disputes on the country’s obligation to meet its EU budget deficit targets in 2013. Wilders' had opposed the welfare cuts required to meet the Brussels-imposed target.

The EU quickly praised the result, with home affairs commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom tweeting; "Pro-European parties win in Dutch elections. Good news."

The Dutch elections are being seen as a reflection of broader public sentiment in the EU, with the results coming on the same day that Germany's constitutional court rejected legal challenges against the eurozone's bailout fund.

The result assuages fears that a fiercely anti-Europe Dutch parliament would have threatened the EU's efforts to solve the euro-crisis.

On the last leg of his campaign trail, Rutte told voters that he would not sign the country up to a third Greek bailout despite VVD party promises to do everything to keep the eurozone in order.

He is to begin the task of forming a new government later on Thursday in a process which could take months.

Labour's new leader, Diederik Samsom, while campaigning won a string of TV debates which helped propel him into the limelight. Experts say a coalition between the two is likely.

Tough talk on Europe as Dutch go to polls

In the run-up to election day in the Netherlands, there was much tough talk on Europe. But a lot of it was campaign rhetoric and polls suggest a more balanced outcome.

Dutch PM misses EU summit to save coalition

Dutch PM Mark Rutte has asked his Luxembourgian colleague Xavier Bettel to take his place at the EU summit in Brussels as he battles to save his government in the Netherlands.

Maltese PM hails pope, calls for multispeed EU

Malta's prime minister Joseph Muscat said that Pope Francis has "the skills and vision" to inspire the EU and that some EU countries should integrate more to be able to act.

MEPs set to approve Canada trade deal

The European Parliament is expected to give the green light to the EU-Canada free trade agreement, which would start being implemented in April.

France's Macron issues Brexit warning

The centrist presidential candidate tells talented Britons to come to France and warns against giving the UK "undue advantages" after Brexit, in a speech in London.

French police raid Le Pen's party office

Officers raid the National Front headquarters near Paris over allegations that leader Marine Le Pen used fake EU parliament contracts to pay her personal staff.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsFreedom of Association and Expression Under Threat in Kazakhstan, Reports CIVICUS Monitor
  2. QS World MBA TourMeet with Leading International Business Schools in Brussels on March 6th
  3. EURORDISJoin Rare Disease Day and Help Advocate for More Research on Rare Diseases
  4. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceStudents Who Are Considered Fit Get Better Grades in School
  5. QS World MBA TourMeet with Leading International Business Schools in Paris on March 4th
  6. Malta EU 2017Economic Governance: Agreement Reached on Structural Reform Support Programme for Member States
  7. Socialists & DemocratsWomen Have to Work Ten Years Longer to Match Lifetime Earnings of Men
  8. Counter BalanceTrans-Adriatic Pipeline Is a Major Risk for Banks, Warns New Analysis
  9. Martens CentreEU and US Migration Policies Compared: Join the Debate on February 28th
  10. Swedish EnterprisesTechnology and Data Flows - Shaping the Society of Tomorrow
  11. UNICEFNearly 1.4 Million Children at Risk of Death as Famine Looms Across Africa and Yemen
  12. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Fees: Council Reaches Agreement on Wholesale Caps